Rolf Knütel

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Rolf Knütel (born December 23, 1939 in Hamburg ; † September 25, 2019 in Bonn ) was a German legal scholar . The scientific focus of his work was civil law and Roman law .


Rolf Knütel studied law from 1959 to 1963 at the University of Hamburg and Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg . After the first state examination in law in 1963, Knütel was awarded a doctorate by Max Kaser in Hamburg on the termination of a contract in Roman law. iur. PhD . In 1970 he passed the second state examination in Hamburg. He then worked as a research assistant to Max Kaser and completed his habilitation in 1973 with a thesis on the promise of penalties in Roman law.

In 1977 Knütel was appointed to succeed Werner Flume at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn . There he was full professor and director of the Institute for Roman Law and Comparative Legal History until his retirement in 2005 . Martin Schermaier followed him in his chair .

From 1993 to 2009 Knütel was one of the editors of the magazine of the Savigny Foundation for Legal History (Romance Department). Since 1990 he has been co-editor of the book series Researches on Roman Law . Since 1996 he has also been a member of the jury that awards the Premio Romanistico Gérard Boulvert, a prestigious prize for academic work in the field of Roman law.

Among others, Professors Holger Altmeppen ( University of Passau ) and Ingo Reichard ( University of Bielefeld ) are academic students of Rolf Knütel.

Scientific work

Knütel has dealt with various areas of Roman private law in his publications. He paid particular attention to the relationship between Roman law and today's legal systems. In addition, Knütel also dealt with the historical connecting lines between Roman law and other rights of antiquity, in particular biblical and Jewish law .

His biggest project was the translation of the Corpus Iuris Civilis , on which he had been working with Okko Behrends , Berthold Kupisch and Hans Hermann Seiler since the late 1980s .

honors and awards

Since 1998 Knütel has been a member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences . He was also an external member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences . On his 70th birthday, Rolf Knütel was honored with a festschrift in which 81 authors from all over Europe, the USA, South America and Asia participated.

Works (selection)

  • Rolf Knütel: Contrarius consensus. Studies on the termination of contracts in Roman law . Cologne 1968. (Dissertation)
  • Rolf Knütel: Stipulatio poenae. Studies on the Roman Contractual Penalty . Cologne 1976, ISBN 3412028754 (habilitation thesis)
  • Rolf Knütel: 'The treasure in the field' and 'the bad vine gardeners' - Bible parables in the light of contemporary legal views . In: Juristische Schulung (JuS) 26 (1986) 950–957
  • Rolf Knütel: Legal Unity in Europe and Roman Law . In: Journal for European Private Law ( ZEuP ) 2 (1994) 244–276
  • Rolf Knütel: Ius commune and Roman law before courts of the European Union . In: Juristische Schulung ( JuS ) 36 (1996) 768-778
  • Max Kaser , Rolf Knütel: Roman private law. A study book . 19th edition. Munich 2008, ISBN 9783406576232
  • Okko Behrends , Rolf Knütel, Berthold Kupisch, Hans Hermann Seiler : Corpus Iuris Civilis. Text and translation . Heidelberg


  • Holger Altmeppen, Ingo Reichard: Rolf Knütel on his 70th birthday . In: NJW 2009, pp. 3771f.
  • Holger Altmeppen, Wolfgang Ernst, Ulrich Manthe, Ingo Reichard, Martin Schermaier, Reinhard Zimmermann, (eds.), Festschrift for Rolf Knütel on his 70th birthday , Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8114-3920-7

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Obituary by Rolf Knütel
  2. Boehlau-Verlag: Research on Roman Law , accessed on October 7, 2019
  3. ^ Premio Romanistico Gérard Boulvert , accessed on October 7, 2019